Way forward sought on Scotton footpath delays

Hunton Road. Photo: Google.

Council chiefs say they are ‘urgently’ progressing work to arrange for a new footpath to be installed in Scotton despite a quote for the work rising by more than £40,000.

The assurance comes after the parish council wrote to Rishi Sunak MP and senior councillors at North Yorkshire County Council to find a way forward.

Local residents and councillors in Scotton are worried that the lack of a footpath connecting the estates in Scotton along Hunton Road is dangerous for pedestrians, with the danger is increased by speeding drivers and dips in the road making visibility poor.

Work to ensure there is a footpath all the way between the residential areas is being carried out in three stages

Two stages have been completed but there are still sections of the road which have no path.

The council has secure a grant of £22,000 via the district council — but this needs to be spent by the end of March, and parish councillors are worried they will lose the money if the work is not started soon.

The work is to be done by contractors appointed by North Yorkshire Count Council, however delays mean the quote for the work has risen from £27,500 to £70,000.

The letter to Mr Sunak and councillors states: “Scotton Parish does not have the funding for this vast increase in price and we feel this is putting children’s and residents’ lives at risk.

“This road is also used by the elderly to reach local bus services on Bedale Road.  The road is a vital link for all people who walk especially children as you know we have a very scarce bus service.”

It adds: “The parish have grave concerns how public money is being used and has the due diligence been carried out correctly to award a contract to a new contractor which seems to charge highly inflated costs.

“The parish had wanted to complete this footpath back in 2019 and now seems we are being penalised for the length of time it has taken for Area 1 to commit to the task.”

In response, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “We understand the importance of completing the third phase of the footpath installation on Hunton Road and we are doing all we can to make this happen.

“There is an extra time imperative given the parish council’s time-sensitive grant funding, so we are urgently seeking a final price and start date from our contractors.

“We will share this as soon as we are able to do so.”

A spokesman for Mr Sunak said the MP had made representations to North Yorkshire County Council when the matter was raised with him last year. He would be seeking an update on progress.